Politics Trump campaign targets Bass amid speculation over Biden VP pick
Harris seen as Biden VP favorite as clock ticks
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is seen as the favorite as Joe Biden nears a decision on his vice presidential pick.Harris would be the first Black woman and Indian American woman to be nominated on a major party's presidential ticket, and she battled with Biden memorably on the debate stage more than a year ago.Harris wouldn't put a new state in play. She represents California, the largest electoral prize on the map but one that is completely safe for Democrats.Yet many see her as the least risky pick for Biden, who is under pressure to select a woman of color as his veep, and someone who would be prepared to be president on day one.
President Trump's reelection campaign ramped up criticism of Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) on Saturday amid speculation that she could be tapped to be former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate.
In a call organized by the campaign and led by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez (R), the two lawmakers tore into Bass's past comments on and trips to Cuba, broadcasting possible lines of attack the campaign hopes could be effective in the nation's largest swing state.
Karen Bass walks back Castro comment amid VP vetting
“It’s certainly something that I would not say again,” the California congresswoman said.In an interview on MSNBC, the five-term House lawmaker and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus addressed her decision to describe Castro as “Comandante en Jefe” in a statement she issued marking his death in 2016. The Spanish phrase translates in English to commander in chief.
The call centered around Bass's past remark describing Fidel Castro as "Comandante en Jefe" in ashe issued after his death in 2016 and trips she took there throughout the 1970s as part of the Venceremos Brigade, a group that organized visits to Cuba for leftist Americans.
"If God forbid Joe Biden is elected president and Congresswoman Bass becomes vice president, she'll be the highest-ranking Castro sympathizer in the history of the United States government," declared Rubio.
"I think I speak for all freedom-loving Americans in this nation, especially Cuban Americans, when I say that a vote for Biden/Bass would be a slap in the face to all of those Cuban dissidents in exile who have arduously worked and lost their lives ensuring our civil and political rights remain untouched," added Nuñez.
Fox's Perino says Biden won't pick Susan Rice because of fire from right
Fox News's Dana Perino predicted Joe Biden won't pick Susan Rice as his running mate because it would give something for the right to seize upon, and suggested the former Obama national security adviser might be better as a White House chief of staff."I will say that I do not believe that Susan Rice, who was President Obama's national security advisor and is rumored to be on this list, I do not think she is going to be the choice," Perino, who"I will say that I do not believe that Susan Rice, who was President Obama's national security advisor and is rumored to be on this list, I do not think she is going to be the choice," Perino, who served as White House press secretary in President George W.
The press call, which was dedicated solely to Bass and her stance on Cuba, was a chance to preview some of the attacks that will come against the Biden ticket should the California lawmaker be chosen as his running mate.
Trump and his Republican allies are confidant the line of attack could be particularly potent in Florida, a critical swing state that the president won by just over 1 percent in 2016. The Sunshine State is home to a large Hispanic population, including many immigrants from a slate of Latin American countries who fled socialist dictatorships and tilt more Republican than the Latino community across the country.
"[C]uba today is an evil, Marxist regime and...the people of Cuba deserve freedom and democracy. You have people that disagree about the best way to bring that about, but we don't have, especially here in South Florida, a large section of our population of voting Americans who believe that what is happening in Cuba is good and we should embrace the Castro regime. That's what Congresswoman Bass believes," Rubio said.
California paper urges Biden to pick Karen Bass over Kamala Harris for running mate
The biggest newspaper in California’s capital city is urging Joe Biden to choose Rep. Karen Bass of California as his running mate instead of the other Golden State politician who’s being seriously considered – Sen. Kamala Harris. © Provided by FOX News Rep. Karen Bass, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, delivers remarks on removing confederate statues. “If Biden chooses a California VP, he likely won’t pick Karen Bass,” the Sacramento Bee editorial board wrote. “Clearly, however, the community activist whose passion for service led others to draft her into electoral politics is the better choice.
The Trump campaign has also targeted Bass over remarks she made in 2010 at a Scientology church in California, though most of GOP's rebukes toward Bass have focused on Cuba, particularly given how tailor-made they believe the message is to Florida and its 29 critical electoral votes.
"I don't believe in the last six decades that there has anyone considered of the vice presidency, not to mention in that position, with this level of sympathy towards a Marxist regime," Rubio said Saturday.
Bass this week started mounting her defense against the attacks, dismissing criticism that her 2016 remark of Castro was overly deferential while noting she believes in reopening relationships with Cuba.
"For a country that is 90 miles away, for a policy that we've had decades [and] hasn't worked, I think opening up relationships is the best way to go," Bass said this week. "But I certainly understand the sensitivity and, to me saying that, the understanding that the translation in Spanish communicated something completely different. Lesson learned."
On Saturday, she alsoof the remarks she made at the opening of a Scientology church in Los Angeles a decade ago, saying she was trying to speak to "what I think all of us believe in - respect for another's views, to treat all people with respect, and to fight oppression wherever we find it."
Karen Bass renounces her praise for Fidel Castro
She told Fox host Chris Wallace that her perspective “developed over time.”On “Fox News Sunday,“ the California Democrat faced questions about several visits to Cuba in the 1970s and a statement she released after Castro's 2016 death saying that "the passing of the Comandante en Jefe is a great loss to the people of Cuba.
Neither the Biden campaign nor a spokesperson for Bass immediately responded to requests for comment from The Hill.
The Republican campaign against Bass is taking place ahead of Biden's announcement of his running mate, which is expected to take place in the first couple of weeks of August.
Biden has already declared he would pick a woman and is under pressure to pick a woman of color amid a national reckoning over systemic racism and police brutality. Bass has seen her name raised in headlines in recent days as someone who is under serious consideration to join the Democratic ticket.
Among others being considered are Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), former national security adviser Susan Rice and Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.).
Democrats say Bass must address her past remarks on Cuba and her trips there more strongly to effectively put away the GOP line of attack.
"If she has any hopes of having her past not be the source of genuine damage, it starts with a full-fledged and full throated mea culpa acknowledging that it was a mistake or naïveté to have traveled so often to Cuba and said comments that on the surface appear to be sympathetic and in solidarity with the communist and totalitarian regime that oppressed, jailed and killed the family of many people today who are voters throughout the United States," said Fernand Amandi, a Florida-based Democratic consultant and pollster.
Still, Amandi said picking Bass could violate the maxim of picking a running mate who would do no harm and would hand the GOP a line of attack "on a silver platter."
"I think it's clear that they're chomping at the bit for Congresswoman Bass to be selected so they can make the election, in Florida at least, a choice as opposed to the referendum on Trump they do not want it to be," he said.
Hakeem Jeffries to Biden: Bass or Demings 'would be great choices' for VP .
Jeffries’ endorsement of his fellow House lawmakers is not necessarily surprising, given his close working relationships with the pair of congresswomen. Jeffries and Demings both served as House impeachment managers in President Donald Trump’s Senate trial, and Bass is the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, of which all three lawmakers are members.But as the Biden campaign has continued its search process for a running mate, Democratic lawmakers and prominent party figures have been largely reluctant to elevate any particular candidate, instead declining to weigh in and deferring to Biden’s judgment.